Once as K.N. Rao was analyzing a friend's chart, he noticed a planetary combination that was particularly dangerous for him in the near future. He strongly recommended that he regularly recite the maha mrityunjaya mantra, the traditional mantra of protection, over the following weeks. About a month later as the man was doing a routine inspection in a warehouse, a large support beam suddenly gave way and about 200 cement bags landed on top of him! His co-workers were quite certain that he had been killed beneath that weight. However, when they finally removed the bags they found that he was not only alive, but that the only injuries he sustained was a hairline fracture to his hip!
The mrityunjaya mantra is considered one of the maha mantras or great Sanskrit mantras because of its potency to give protection and manifold blessings. Maha mrityunjaya literally means the great victory over death. It is associated with Shiva, the destroyer of ignorance, and the liberator from the cycle of death and rebirth. It is therefore a life giving mantra that not only protects the physical body and gives health, but purifies the mind at a deep level.
The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
Om tryambakam yajamahe
mrityor mukshiya mamritat.
"I bow down to that three-eyed Lord Shiva, who is full of sweet fragrance, who nourishes all living beings. May He free me from the bondage of samsara and death, just as a ripe cucumber is separated from the vine. May I be fixed in immortality!"
Shiva is said to have three eyes, because he sees the past, present, and future simultaneously. He is the lord of the three worlds - physical, astral, and causal. He is also beyond the three gunas - sattva, rajas, and tamas - or creation, sustenance, and destruction. As we chant the maha mrityunjaya mantra we identify with Shiva, develop his attributes, and receive his blessings.
In the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, sage Parashara prescribes the maha mrityunjaya mantra as an astrological remedial measure on at least 24 separate occasions. For instance, in Chapter 55 verse 52 he says,
"In this critical period, with the recitation (japa) of mrityunjaya mantra the evil effects will get mellowed down (reduced) with the blessings of Lord Shiva."